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Lightning Strikes Damage At Least 4 Homes In Suburbs

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Updated 06/19/14 – 11:11 a.m.

(CBS) — A lightning strike injured three firefighters attempting to put out a house fire Wednesday evening in unincorporated DuPage County, near Wheaton. At least three other homes in the suburbs were damaged by lightning during Wednesday’s storms.

CBS 2′s Mike Parker reports the fire caused extensive damage to a home at Durfee and Seneca near Wheaton after hitting the roof around 7:30 p.m.

A Warrenville Fire Protection District spokesman said the first units called to the scene found a fire in the attic.

The family who lives in the home was not injured, although they were astonished by the impact.

However, three firefighters were slightly hurt when they suffered minor electric shocks, either from exposed wiring at the home, or possibly a small secondary lightning strike.

Warrenville Fire Protection District Chief Dennis Rogers said, at the time, the firefighters were up on the roof, ventilating the home.

“We’re not sure where the contact came from. We assume an open electrical line. They experienced numbness within their chests and their arms,” he said.

Paramedics transported the three firefighters to Central DuPage Hospital, where they were being held overnight for observation.

Joan Hadraba, who lives across the street, said the lightning strike was very loud, and very scary.

“I knew it was very close, and then I started to smell smoke, and I thought maybe it was my house,” she told WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya.

Hadraba said another house on the block was hit by lightning some time ago, and now she’s thinking about putting up a lightning rod.

“I saved one. I have one in my kitchen from a corn crib that burned down,” she said. “I think I might have to take that out, and put it up on top of the house.”

WBBM 780’s Bernie Tafoya

wheaton lightning strike Lightning Strikes Damage At Least 4 Homes In Suburbs
WBBM 780/105.9FM

Lightning strikes also started fires at homes in Schaumburg, North Aurora, and St. Charles.

The Schaumburg Fire Department said a home in the 500 block of Weatherfield Way was hit by lightning around 1:45 a.m. Thursday.

Louis Leal and his wife and daughter were sleeping inside at the time. They weren’t even aware it happened until a neighbor alerted them to the fire on their back wall.

“The lightning strike just hit, we woke up, and the neighbors ran over and said the house is on fire,” Louis Leal said.

The fire ignited near an electrical box, and quickly spread through the home’s walls. The electrical system and part of the daughter’s bedroom were heavily damaged.

Karen Owens said she didn’t even had a chance to welcome her new neighbors to the neighborhood before their home was struck by lightning. The Leals had only been living on the block for a couple weeks before the fire.

Owens said she knew the lightning bolt was close, because they saw the flash of light at the same time they heard the thunder.

“My body actually shook in bed,” Owens said. “You got scared, and you knew it hit something. We all said, we all yelled to each other, ‘That had to hit something somewhere.’”

One of her sons took a fire extinguisher across the street to start putting out the fire. Luckily, no one was injured.

“Everybody’s okay. We’re going to spend the night at our family’s house, and go from there,” Leal said.